Interview questions for mental health care assistant
Once you’ve landed yourself a care worker interview, how can you show you’re the right person for the job? Photograph: Alamy
Whether the role is based in a hospital, day centre, care home or out in the community, your interviewers will need to establish if you're well suited to the position. So once you've landed yourself an interview, how can you show you're the right person for the job?
Most people go through life gaining experiences which are invaluable to this type of work, such as good communication skills, empathy and the ability to think on your feet. Showing this to a potential employer is key, so we've put together a list of typical interview questions you could be asked with expert tips on how to answer them.
Can you describe what you think a care worker does and what type of people or groups you might work with?
Maggie Hennessy, associate director of social care and education at HR company Penna: "This is a very open question and will show the employer whether the candidate understands the expectations of the job – you need to look up a job description and see what the role involves. It's a good test of whether they've done any research, especially if candidates are coming from a different country where the roles may differ."
Can you provide an example of how you've contributed to effective team working?
Roop Bhumbra, director of social care at Hays recruiters: "This is intended to show employers you'll work well with other social workers and your management team. It will also allow employers to find out if you have the softer skills and values for social care. The best example will show how you have listened to colleagues and supported them. Highlight positions of responsibility you had and how you supervised others. Preparation is key here so have an example that clearly shows why team working was important and how your skills influenced the positive outcome."
Can you describe a stressful experience you've had and explain how you coped with it?
Stephen Wilson, managing director of a care at home company, Social Care Alba: "It may not seem directly relevant, but we're looking to find out whether the candidate can identify stress in themselves and if they're good at problem-solving. You can give any example, whether it's a young baby keeping you up at night, a death in the family, moving house or planning a wedding, it doesn't matter. The worst response we hear is 'I never get stressed'. That shows you have no understanding or recognition of when a situation is complex or needs to be handled sensitively. We're not looking to catch people out, we're looking to find out whether they can recognise these situations."
If you were delivering personal support to someone, how would you maintain their dignity and respect?
Stephen Wilson: "This gets candidates to think about how the other person is going to feel. They need to show they can do the job empathetically, encouraging the individual to do as much for themselves as possible, while offering support. The most important thing is to always communicate. Show you understand what needs doing, but highlight that you would give the person the choice as to whether they want to have a bath or go to the toilet, for example. Explain how you would promote the person's independence and help them over time gain the ability to do more for themselves. It shows us the candidate has a deep understanding of the role."
Explain how your understanding of current legislation would inform your daily work
Roop Bhumbra: "Your answer needs to show an employer you have knowledge, experience and understanding of relevant legislation within areas like mental health or child protection. These are always changing so it's essential you keep up-to-date. You may then delve deeper into your areas of expertise in your answer. Refer to specific regulations or guidance, acknowledge why the legislation is important and how you would use it in the role."